Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges, nestled at the base of the Great Dividing Range, are special. The local indigenous people of Dja Dja Wurrung recognise this beautiful mountainous region in central Victoria as a sacred healing place.
The townships experienced rapid growth upon the discovery of gold in the Gold Rush of the 1850s, but now boasts beautiful mineral springs as their main attraction.
Where to go
Head to the museums and historic buildings to explore indigenous culture, Gold Rush era architecture and the development of Australia’s largest concentration of mineral springs.
Start in Kyneton Gold Rush village. Walk down Piper Street to admire the Swiss-Italian influence of the original architecture. These migrants came in the Gold Rush migrants seeking their fortune. Daylesford’s historic buildings include the post office, town hall and hotels, as well as the Daylesford Historical Society Museum.
The kids will love the gardens in Daylesford. Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens has been formed in the crater of an extinct volcano. Castlemaine Botanic Gardens, Woodend Children’s Park and Gisborne’s Botanic Gardens have great playgrounds and picnic spots.
Try your hand fishing from the man-made Lake Daylesford, or paddle a rowboat.
Adults can enjoy the wine-tasting, mineral spas and foodie havens in the region, as well as Mill Markets, the largest indoor antique market in the country.
Take a walk through the historic townships and walking trails of Daylesford and Sunbury.
Families with older kids can traverse the volcanic crater of Mount Franklin. You can also climb Mount Piper, look out over Trentham Falls or follow the trails in Black Hill Reserve. Sailors Falls, Central Springs Reserve and Hepburn Mineral Springs Reserve are also excellent spots to explore.
No trip here would be complete without calling “Miranda” at Hanging Rock. If you’re brave, a wander through the native bushland. I was lucky enough that my visit coincided, completely by accident, with horseraces at the nearby racecourse. The relaxed atmosphere and food trucks make it a fun way to experience the spooky spot.
Lodges and motels are a good place to start when looking for overnight options that suit your family group. Families can also camp at Macedon Caravan Park beneath the magnificent Mount Macedon. For a more ritzy weekend away, check out the cottages and eco-lodges at Gisborne. At Laurimar Glen, Bunjil Farm and Cloud End, you can experience the ultimate Kyneton farm stay.
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